Starkville sidewalk group on move

March 27, 2009

Tim Pratt -

 

STARKVILLE -- The quest to improve Starkville''s cracked and crumbling sidewalks is well under way for the city''s sidewalk committee, but the group for now is content to tackle the task one step at a time. 

 


The committee met Thursday to work on a sidewalk ordinance which, if approved by the city''s Board of Aldermen, would require sidewalks along all new public and private roads in the city, as well as in front of new homes and businesses. 

 


But the ordinance doesn''t address some of the decades-old sidewalks in the city which are in dire need of repair -- at least, not yet. The committee plans to tackle the issue of existing sidewalks at a future time. 

 


"This will help keep (the sidewalk issue) from getting worse," Corey said of the ordinance. "Then we can go back and work on the existing sidewalks." 

 


  

 


Making progress 

 


The committee on Thursday considered including in the ordinance a section which would have required the installation of sidewalks at existing homes that don''t have them, but decided to strike it from the document. According to the stricken section, construction improvements to single-family homes, equating to 50 percent or more of the taxable property value, would require the installation of sidewalks before the city makes its final inspection and/or issues a certificate of occupancy. 

 


Although very few residents make improvements worth 50 percent or more of their property value, the section had the potential to doom the ordinance, committee Vice Chairman Joe Fratesi warned. He predicted the section would''ve upset residents who, in turn, would have urged aldermen to reject the ordinance. 

 


"From the average citizen, I don''t think this idea is going to be well-received," Fratesi said. "Having that section in there has the potential to ruffle a lot of feathers in the city." 

 


The committee is still working on additional details of the ordinance. Their next meeting is April 2 in City Hall. 

 


Aldermen could pass the ordinance as early as next month, but first would hold two public hearings to let residents voice their concerns.